On Saturday (17/09/16) I took part in my first Tough Mudder Half at Holbush Farm in Horsham. I have done 3 full Tough Mudder’s in the past, with the most recent being back in May, and I really wanted to add the white headband to my collection so I signed up to do an Half event. It was also the perfect opportunity for my sister’s husband-to-be, Steve to experience a shorter Tough Mudder before maybe doing a full one next year.
The Half events are just over 5 miles with 14 obstacles rather than 10-12 miles and over 25 obstacles for a full Tough Mudder. It was an ideal distance for me while I get back in to the swing of my training. The good thing with the Half event is that you don’t get plunged into ice cold skips or get electrocuted which is always bonus. There is still plenty of mud though!
We set out on the course at around 9.15am and unfortunately the weather was a bit grim compared to the stunning sunshine we had been getting earlier on in the week. It was a lot cooler and overcast, with a slight drizzle of rain at times. This made for some incredibly boggy and slippery pathways, especially through the woodland areas. Thankfully, I had my Merrell off-trail trainers on which were incredible. I didn’t slip once and the grip on the obstacles was also superb.
Usually when I do a Tough Mudder I’m in a group of quite a few friends which makes getting over certain obstacles like Hero Walls a lot easier. With just me and Steve I thought we might struggle but of course there was always another participant willing to help us out. That’s what I love about Tough Mudder’s, everyone helps each other and it’s all about teamwork rather than being a race.
I was really impressed with Holbush Farm as a location. The woodland areas were beautiful and a little eerie too and just like at Belvoir Castle there was quite a big open area with multiple obstacles which made it great for spectators to watch.
I was pleased with the range of obstacles the Half event offered but felt that it needed a couple more of the fear inducing obstacles like Cage Crawl and either Cry Baby or Birth Canal. It did, however, include signature favourites like Kiss of Mud, Mud Mile and Everest. Also, the recent addition of Block Ness Monster made an appearance which is a personal favourite of mine as it really encourages teamwork. You are basically waist deep in water with a large square rotating block which you have to jump up on while other people help push the block up, when you get to half way over the best method is to carry on hanging on to help pull the block down so the next people (now on the other side of the block) can jump on as the block as it rotates around. It’s a really well crafted obstacle and gives you a great level of satisfaction on completion.
Everest was also ridiculously slippery and my wife and sister, who were spectating, saw some nasty accidents with broken noses and some poor women breaking her front teeth. After managing to conquer Everest and helping others up it I did witness a young girl smack her cheekbone badly, which looked awfully painful. Fortunately there was a paramedic nearby to support her. These incidents do remind you that any Tough Mudder whether a full or half one shouldn’t be taken lightly. They have a waiver form you need to sign for a reason! I was lucky enough to come off with only the normal cuts and scrapes to my knees and also a killer huge bruise on my elbow after my first attempt at Everest ended in failure!
Now a couple of days after, my upper body aches, especially my shoulders after all the climbing and pulling people up and over obstacles. My legs feel great and don’t even feel like they have had a work out. After finishing the course and claiming my white headband and bottle of cider I really felt like I could have gone round it again which is definitely a good sign. I’m even being crazy enough to consider doing the IronRun, another mud obstacle run, in a couple of weeks in Cranford which is very close to where I live. This event is more challenging than the Tough Mudder Half with a course that is over 12K with around 40 obstacles. I do find mud runs incredibly addictive but if I do agree to do it, it will be the last one before the marathon as I don’t want to risk injuring myself and not having enough time to recover.
To finish, this week is also Meningitis awareness week so please help spread the word by following Meningitis Research Foundation on Twitter (@M_R_F) and retweeting their tweets and using the hashtag #MRFAwarenessWeek. Of course you can also help by donating to the charity which you can do via my JustGiving page found here. Your support is always much appreciated so thank you!